Maynard and Jennica
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Maynard and Jennica

3.34 of 5 stars 3.34  ·  rating details  ·  603 ratings  ·  164 reviews
Set either side of 9/11, Maynard and Jennica's courtship is narrated by our heroes and their many, many observers, among them all four parents, a Russian-German-Israeli scam artist, a rapper with a linguistics background, a macaw, and an adolescent trumpeter.
Paperback, 300 pages
Published August 1st 2008 by Harper Perennial (first published September 18th 2007)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,071)
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Alison
I'm glad I got past the promotional blurbs, which to me undersell this book. "Funny" and "moving" and "human"? Maynard would have something to say about that last one (what else could it be? Feline? Avian? Prawn?), and all three are suspect from a critical perspective (moving = "I felt something!" Do reviewers really have no idea how therapied this makes them sound?), not to mention practically equivalent in our debased critical vocabulary (ever since the Holocaust, I suppose, what with the supp...more
Nancy
Ugh, so, you know how sometimes a friend of yours who you like pretty well but isn't one of your inner circle will be dating a guy who you really want to throat-punch? And you can't say anything to her because you're not that close, and you don't see them often enough to broach it with the people who are the intersection of you and her in the Venn Diagram that is life? Well, that guy is Maynard, and that girl is Jennica. And just as it happens so often in life, Maynard so drags the book to this...more
Alisa
Sometimes it seems like the whole point of reading a book is a single sentence. Maybe it wasn’t even meant that way by the writer, but it strikes something personal in the reader, some memory, some feeling, some wish. I guess that is what the Secret Life of Reading is all about. Here, it was one tiny passage about the darkness inside a house at the coming of dusk-- “It is a melancholy time: all you need do is switch on one lamp and the inside and the outside will separate, held apart by the refl...more
Andy
May 24, 2010 Andy rated it 1 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2010
Telling the story of the romance of a late 20s couple in New York. Billed as a comedy by the author. Didn't really like it.

The tale told from the viewpoint of all the characters quickly gets annoying and just feels gimmicky. Plus there are the annoying - punctuation quirks. Afforded to - the main characters. Like, whatever.

I don't know. Maybe it's because I'm not American, Jewish or a New Yorker but there's a distance between my sympathies and those of the characters. Maynard is pretty smug and...more
Courtney
I picked up this book based on a rave review in the NY Times book review a couple Sundays ago -- it's a quirky and sweet story told from about 40 different characters' points of view, Maynard and Jennica being the threads holding the cast together. Each interview begins with a short description of the person (or thing) giving an account of the part of the story in question (e.g., "James Cleveland, age twelve, describes what Maynard looked like under the air-conditioning vent on the uptown No. 6...more
Aaron
This is the second book written by a briliant writer right around my age in a row that I adored. I need to start reading only novels penned by writers who are over forty. These young guys are making me jealous.

Maynard & Jennica is the story of the relationship that transpires between avante-garde filmmaker Maynard Gogarty and extremely Jewish Jennica Green. He sees her on the subway, gains a crush on her. She sees his film, gains a crush on him. A relationship begins. Eventually, the relatio...more
Farwa
They are the most flawless, yet so horribly flawed couple ever.


This book was so witty and smart and frustrating because of the use of randomly placed “-“s (though I’m sure Delson had a reason for putting them where he did, I just don’t understand that reason). The input of many other people (alive and dead), some animals, and inanimate objects was fun to read.

Oh, it says on the book jacket that someone may be buying the film rights to this book! I would see it in a heartbeat if it does actually...more
Donna Jo Atwood
The story of how Maynard and Jennica got together in New York City is okay. The premise of the storytelling--that various bystanders would all crowd around and stick in their two cents--held the promise of being amusing. After all, how many stories have narrators that include a macaw and a subway train emergency brake. But before long the story became overwhelmed by the cuteness factor, all the characters seemed to speak in the same voice, and there were entirely too many chapters taking byways...more
Josephine Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious
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Keri
It really takes a lot for me to put down a book before reaching the end. My friend has a rule that if she gets 50 pages into a book and still doesn't like it, she'll stop reading it. I gave it an extra push; I got to page 59. By then the main characters were uninteresting and the style of the book (interview style) was grating on my nerves. And the consistent use of the words "like" and "whatever" certainly didn't help either. Too many good reads out there to waste my time on this.
Bridget
This started out fun and wacky, and then got tiresome quickly. Over the course of the book, it is told through the perspective of several characters - like, 30 of them or something.
Jennifer
There is "quirky" for a reason and then "quirky" for quirky's sake. This book is the latter.
Kelli
I picked this book up at used book shop with no prior expectations. From beginning to end I found this book to be fun. I sense that the author had fun writing it and included many autobiographical snippets throughout the book. There is definitely a seinfeldesque "story about nothing" quality to this book as the story unfolds through the conversational narrative of the characters. There is a delightful absence of dark scenes with sex with vampires, ghostly visitations, or sick criminal minds or i...more
Kim Silarski
got bored with this, didn't finish it.
Jessica
pretentious boring
Annie
It was an interesting format - it was like a series of confessionals like in reality tv - and though i don't like reality tv, the format worked in written form. Of course, while having numerous points of view and interweaving storylines is nice, there's always the chance that one of the storylines is less interesting, and I did find myself dutifully slogging along through a couple of them, just wanting to skip ahead - but I didn't. I liked the writing/dialogue - very clever - and really, that's...more
erin
Jul 02, 2008 erin rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: probably people like me
(from my blog, b/c I am lazy)
I don't remember how I heard about Maynard & Jennica, by Rudolph Delson. Doesn't really matter - it ended up on my list so I requested it from the library. It's billed as a love story, with a lot of minor characters. In this it is perhaps like Beginner's Greek. But this is missing a lot of the sweet. You're not rooting against these lovers, but I'm not convinced that you like them very much.

I'm having trouble knowing what to say about the book, and perhaps that's...more
Sophy26
I had really high hopes for this book, but it completely let me down. I admit that I didn't finish it. I read dutifully through page 29, then flipped through it and read the end, to see if it might have gotten more interesting or had some fantastic culminating scene that sewed it all together. But it didn't. The story is told as a series of journal entries or interviews from way too many characters to keep straight. They are each assigned some distinctive narrative tics that, whether they were i...more
Leslie Ann
Oct 18, 2007 Leslie Ann rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fidgety Northern Californians who live in Brooklyn and miss California.

Got this galley in March and read the first chapter. Wasn't so sure about it; the voice of Jennica...mildly annoying. Finally though, I gave it another shot seven months later.

Once I got used to everybody's tangental rantings and ramblings, I became just a little bit fond of this book. It became my neurotic, gregarious, emotionally retarded old friend--a little flawed but quite clever and amusing in it's wistfulness.

Anyhow, Northern/Central Cali's will appreciate terms such as "Nut Treed Out",...more
Meredith Enos
very new york. you know how sometimes you read a book and, despite the fact that it's set in, like, regency england or something, you feel like you could have written the book? well, this is a book i could definitely not written. it's like a beautiful little time capsule that if you didn't experience, you can only read about.

that being said, the plot is OK. the style is very quick. it's humorous. the characters are just that--characters. you don't really get invested in them, and actually nothin...more
Stephanie
Eerily similar in many ways to a genuine NYC courtship I'm intimately familiar with. Boy meets girl in 2000. Boy nearly doesn't meet girl a second time. Boy and girl meet again at an art house movie theater, fall in love and quickly decide to move in together. 9/11 thwarts their plans, but not in ways you'd think, or ways that are overly dramatic or heart wrenching. Girl goes, without boy, to a friend's wedding in northern California the week after the attacks and this is where, contrary to the...more
Marilyn
Oct 01, 2007 Marilyn rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone with a heart and a wry sense of humor
Rudolph Delson’s story of two New Yorkers falling in love is narrated by a large cast, including, briefly, cicadas and an emergency brake on the No. 6 uptown train. Overlapping, competing, explaining, the voices have distinctive verbal tics. Maynard’s mother, Joan Tate, often falls back on “Well. I am his mother.” Ana Kaganova, a Russian-German-Israeli scam artist, uses “weiß’ du?” as a catch-all absolution for her tricks. Hilarious hip-hop artist Puppy Jones calls himself “our hero”; at a low p...more
Katherine Furman
Maynard and Jennica was a surprisingly realistic love story told in the form of an oral history. Odd. But great. Every scene is a little story told by a wide range of characters from crickets outside of a house to Jennica or Maynard themselves. The beauty of this book is the stylized manor that each character speaks in. You feel like you're hearing an intelligent, but often inelegant recount of a story by someone you actually know. The humor is familiar, like your friend is cracking a joke. The...more
Kristen Northrup
A romantic comedy about neurotic Manhattanites that is also a first novel can very easily go horribly wrong. This did not. It definitely took some getting into, however. The title characters never become entirely likeable people, but I definitely have friends who sometimes act like them. Not to mention that I have friends who would definitely say that I sometimes act like them. The supporting cast is very charismatic, fortunately. And I love books with multiple narrators.

Definitely picked it up...more
Derek Baldwin
The copy I loaned had no blurb on the sleeve so I had no idea really what the novel was about... but I liked that it had nice short chapters: nothing pisses me off more than authors who don't understand the value of white space.



I found this entertaining and funny, but about one-third the way in I began to realise "oh, it's another 911 book". Which filled me with dread. Happily it was not after all a 911 book, in fact Maynard's thoughts on THAT whole subject were refreshingly honest (and similar...more
Jody
Probably more like three and a half stars. This isn't so much a narrative as a collection of first-person accounts, a la shows like The Office where characters speak directly to the audience. It was entertaining and fun, but several of the characters had very similar voices, and the editing was atrocious.
Ellen
Mar 31, 2008 Ellen rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Every single solitary reader of 21st century fiction.
This goes down as my pleasant surprise of 2008 thus far. So, it's not the first (nor will it be the last) novel in which the events of 9/11 play a center role. However, I was particularly fond of the author's ability to filter the experience through each narrator's agenda. Maynard is a favorite, though I hate myself for picturing a young Johnny Depp in the movie role (think Benny & Joon). I tolerated his post-9/11 ranting and knew (though I normally dislike this type of revelation) that it w...more
Lindsey
I would give this 3.5 stars, if I could.

The title of this book says it all - it's the story of Maynard and Jennica, told by 30-some narrators (including cicadas and frogs though, and other people with minimal contribution, so it's not like you have to keep track of that many characters). Mandy had it right when she compared it to the random couples giving testimony in "When Harry Met Sally". Maynard and Jenica themselves are also very "When Harry Met Sally" because I find them quirky, especially...more
Jennifer
Feb 09, 2008 Jennifer rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Quirkyalones
Recommended to Jennifer by: Entertainment Weekly
This is a quirky love story set in New York around the time of September 11th and narrated by a cast of thousands (well, more like 30). This cast includes the two title character but friends, family members, and a number of random New Yorkers also weigh in as the relationship between Maynard and Jennica develops. If you hate things that border on twee, this is not the book for you but I enjoyed the eccentricities of all involved in the story including the structure of the story itself.

How could...more
Amy Keyishian
This novel is about two abundantly clever and odd people finding their clever and odd way toward each other. They're very young, and Maynard, in particular, is so quirky that you instantly recognize him as a type; whether this is good or bad depends on whether you like that type. I did, so I liked seeing himself wander in and out of trouble.

I didn't like a subplot about a rap artist whose artistic life bisects with Maynard's. I felt one way about this guy, and in the end I felt a bit betrayed be...more
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“She buys "mixed salad greens" for seven dollars a bag, triple-washed with who knows what. And to get this stuff home, which is only two blocks away from the grocery store, Jennica throws all of it into plastic bags. There is a husk on her corn, corn that Jennica's store sells in April.. there is a rind on her grapefruit, grapefruit that gets flown in from Florida... but still, Jennica puts the corn and the citrus into plastic bags. Her supposedly organic red peppers, which cost six dollars a pound, come in a foam tray under shrink-wrap, but she puts them in a plastic bag. And then the checkout girl puts all of Jennica's little plastic parcels into two or three more big white plastic bags, and then Jennica walks the two blocks home, where she unpacks all the bags and then trows them in the same trash bin where her corn husks and citrus rinds go.” 1 likes
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